“I’ve heard that it’s possible to grow up – I’ve just never met anyone who’s actually done it. Without parents to defy, we break the rules we make for ourselves. We throw tantrums when things don’t go our way, we whisper secrets with our best friends in the dark, we look for comfort where we can find it, and we hope – against all logic, against all experience. Like children, we never give up hope.”
~Ellen Pompeo (Meredith Grey, Grey’s Anatomy)
Again with the Grey’s quotes, I know. They’re just so good, though, so beautifully and eloquently crafted. They make us think, they make us reflect, and they make us feel. Because these quotes, these tidbits of wisdom and hope that Meredith imparts at the end of each episode, they don’t just touch the lives of the show’s characters. They touch our lives. They resonate. They resound. They inspire. And this one? It couldn’t be more fitting.
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that I’m the sentimental type. I like to save everything with memories attached (and, okay, if I’m being honest here … some things that could easily be tossed). My family is the same way, which is why lately we find ourselves sifting and sorting through boxes and boxes of old papers, collections, and various other items in our basement. Everything’s organized and neatly compartmentalized into its place, but not all of it needs to be saved. Some of those memories? They’re folded in our hearts, and that’s the only place necessary. Sometimes the moments, the reminiscences, that we paint for ourselves end up having so much more focus and clarity than the physical reminders. And sometimes the tangible representation just makes us smile.
Case in point: what did I come across today, you ask? Among other things: books from when I was a little child, Barbie clothes from when I was a bit older, an entire bag full of student teaching mementos – lesson plans, the sweetest cards from the kids and the amazing teachers I worked with, and more – and a catalog made by yours truly. I very clearly remember writing it, so energized and excited by the fact that our family had our first computer. It was the summer before ninth grade, so 1997 (I know, I know, we were late to the technology game, despite all the pleas from my sister and me) … and boy, did it make me laugh. It made me smile, and it also made me think about how, even then, I had such a love for writing. This catalog was filled with articles, advertisements, even an order form for anyone who wanted to “subscribe.” I never would have thought of writing it, not in a million years, until I found those pieces of paper that represented so much more than just the literal. Little did I know then how my passion for writing would grow, evolve, and blossom over the years.
Every child is probably asked that age old question: “what do you want to be when you grow up?” at some point in time. I know I was, and my answers varied over the years: nurse, veterinarian, teacher, meteorologist (see above, circa 1988 or so!), librarian, and journalist. I parlayed that last one into a dual degree in Print and Video Communications, added in another degree in Elementary Education, and had such a clear idea of what path I wanted to follow. I’m lucky enough to have had several dreams come true on that front. And then creative writing came back into my life, swept it – and me – up in a whirlwind, changed everything in ways I never thought possible, and I’ve never been the same. Funny how things work out … and pretty darn wonderful, too. I’ve said many times that I believe people come into our lives for a reason, and I believe things happen that way, too. We find the path we’re supposed to walk. We find the journey we’re meant to take.
And no, maybe we don’t ever grow up entirely. But maybe that’s a good thing. Because, like Meredith says, then we can hope. We can hope against all logic, against all experience. We can take the innocence of our childhood, that time when we lived life with arms wide open, and put some of that sparkle into our everyday. And who knows where that hope will lead?
What about you? When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? Have your dreams changed over time, or are you still working toward the same goals?